Story & Photos by Bella Kok
Ink Master is a competitive tattoo show that airs on the channel Paramount. Between the passion portrayed through the art and the competitive edge, Ink Master is the show to watch. With $100,000 and the title of Ink Master on the line, ten tattoo artists compete in a series of competitions in New York, to prove who is indeed the ultimate “Ink Master.” The spin off show Ink Master Angels stems from Ink Master a show where four of the top previous female Ink Master winners, also known as Angels, travel the United States and compete against local artists to win the ultimate Ink Master Angels title.
Ink Master Angels chooses three local artists to battle in a series of two competitions, with one being eliminated after each round. The first round serves as a two-hour elimination tattoo where the artists must tattoo a body part in the style and subject of their choice in order to impress the Angels. For the second round, two artists have four hours to tattoo a subject the city is known for. Prior to the first elimination round, it is revealed that the winner of the second round will face a random Angel. The Angel and the local artist will then draw white skulls that will determine who gets one of the two human canvases before the six-hour process begins. The local artist and the Angel then have to tattoo a subject inspired by an idea from the person they are tattooing. After the tattooing process concludes, the other Angels, the eliminated local artists and the audience each get one vote. If the local artist gets the most votes and successfully takes down an Angel, they earn a spot to compete on a future season of Ink Master and $100,000.
In the fifth episode of the second season of Ink Master Angels, the Angels travelled to Oklahoma City in an episode titled “Healed by An Angel.” In this episode, three local artists, Muse, Drew Shurtleff and Derek Sharp go head to head for a chance to win a spot to compete on Ink Master. The first-round rules state that the tattoo must be
a tattoo in their own style. After two hours the tattoos are judged by the Angels and two of the local artists advance to the next round. Per round-two rules, the tattoo must be of something that represents the city the local artists are in. The angels have the local artists tattoo a Native American headdress tattoo but, the tattoo must be done with photo-realism aspects.
After round-two, the local artist Drew Shurtleff is ready to battle against Angel Nikki Simpson. Before the tattoo commences, the competing artists sit down and meet their canvases in order to discuss what direction they want their tattoos to go. For the Oklahoma City Ink Master Angels, the two canvases are widely known Oklahomans, Aren Almon and Chris Fields. Almon and Fields are known for the picture of the firefighter carrying the deceased baby on April 19, 1995 when a bomb exploded in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The baby was Almon’s 1 year old daughter, Baylee Almon, and the first responder was, now retired, OKC Firefighter Fields.
“As a father of a young daughter, with a young son on the way, it is a terrifying to think about not having your children,” Shurtleff said. “If I could pull this tattoo off and give her what she really wants, then I am going to call it a win.”
Shurtleff and Almon, decided on a tattoo design that represented a star that was purchased in honor of Baylee, Almon’s daughter, following her tragic death. “I wanted it to appear as though I was holding her star. The tattoo makes me feel like I am getting to hold her again. I love it,” Almon said.
Nikki Simpson, the Angel competing against Shurtleff, got the honor of tattooing Fields. “I usually like to do something a little bit more illustrative, but today I am doing something more realistic. I am doing stone and marble which looks old and cracked and has little holes and pores in it. I am a very versatile artist and I am not afraid of a challenge like this.” Simpson stated confidently. The tattoo inspiration for Fields and Simpson was Saint Anne.
With the six-hour final round wrapped up, the other Angels, the eliminated local artists and everybody in the crowd is received a metal angel wing to drop into the metal box after they viewed the tattoos up close. Once every angel wing is dropped and the votes are tallied the moment of truth appears. The winner is announced at last. In that challenge the winner was… NIKKI SIMPSON!
Story by Danny Fritts - Pictures by Michelle Rojano
everything felt fine, until suddenly being engulfed with fear and panic as your body began to slowly fade. Your mind is full of clarity, but your body insists it is in danger. You try telling yourself everything is fine, but you convince yourself that everything around you is burning as you’re up in flames. Soon enough, you find yourself in a hospital bed, being told what you’re going through is depression and anxiety.
Meet Riley Ramsey. Ramsey is a junior at the University of Oklahoma and takes online courses in order to work two different jobs to support herself. This is not new to her since she has been working both jobs since her senior year of high school. She lost both her parents and two younger brothers in a horrific car accident just days before class started at Duncan High School. As resilient as she is, she said keeping everything bottled in for so long only made things worse.
“I didn’t want to live,” she said. “No family, no life, no real goals. Why go on, I thought?”
As unique as Ramsey’s case is, she is not alone. According to Mental Health America, 1-out-of-5 young adults between the ages of 17 and 26 are suffering from some type of depression or anxiety. This is a rate that can be caused by many different experiences in life or fearing the future.
Whenever life would throw her a curve ball, she did not know how to handle it at times. She convinced herself that everything was all right and those feelings would eventually pass. There were times she thought it was her fault her family was in an accident; like if she were with them, maybe things would have happened differently.
After her hospital visit, she told herself she needed professional help. Keeping everything bottled up for so many years put her in a dark place, a place she never wants to return.
Putting her mental health as a top priority was the first step. She was so consumed with trying to make everything perfect, she forgot about the most important thing: herself. Ramsey also said she is learning how to truly love herself.
“The past couple months have changed my perspective on life,” she said. “I am slowly realizing my self-worth and that help is always a phone call away. I am not alone.”
If you or someone you know is going through any hardship in life or just feel stuck, Rose State offers free counseling to all students and faculty. You can also call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, which is always available.
Story & Photos by Michelle Rojano
E-waste is considered to be anything discarded that is electrical, including electronic devices. Now more than ever, our society not only uses more electronic devices, but we also have a high level of turnover for electronics. This means we go through devices rapidly but we do not necessarily properly discard them.
“The rapid turnover [of] e-waste by modern society has caused this fairly new category of waste to become a major concern for environmental pollution issues, which could lead to public health concerns,” said Daniel Ratcliff, environmental science professor and coordinator.
E-waste that is disposed of improperly can result in toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere. According to Ratcliff, e-waste tested with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure contains more than 5 mg/L of lead. According to the EPA, children under the age of 6 are more vulnerable to the effects of lead. Effects of lead on children include lower IQ, issues with behavior and learning, anemia and hearing problems. In addition, pregnant women are also susceptible to side effects such as underdeveloped vital fetal organs, early birth, a smaller baby and can even be a cause of miscarriage.
According to Becca Stokes, Rose State alumna and environmental science major at Oklahoma State University, lead is not the only risk factor to tossing e-waste in the trash bin.
“[It] creates large amounts of solid waste that is full of toxic materials including mercury, cadmium, chromium and copper. When it accumulates in landfills, these materials are incredibly harmful to the environment,” Stokes said.
Chemicals in landfills can seep into our soil and water sources and even affect our air. According to the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, residue from e-waste in groundwater can result in humans consuming toxic water, which can have a negative impact on the nervous and reproductive systems.
Recycling electronics has been made easier with popular retailers offering recycling services. Target stores accept plastic bags, ink cartridges, MP3 players and phones. Best Buy recycles everything from broken charging cords to major appliances,
and they even offer haul away options for customers.
According to the Best Buy website, “Consumers recycle more appliances and electronics with Best Buy than any other retailer. The company collects more than 400 pounds of product for recycling every minute our stores are open — no matter what retailer the products were purchased from.”
Best Buy’s goal is to recycle 2 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2020. In addition, Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma offers recycling for many items including phones. Recyclers of Oklahoma offers recycling for batteries, including car batteries.
Taking care of electronics and making them last is a great way to help reduce e-waste. Donating electronics is an alternative to recycling. Old computers can be donated to public schools or low income families. Computer brands like Apple and Microsoft Surface are known to have good quality items with great durability.
“[We should] update our electronics when needed, with the best brands that are shown to be more durable,” Ratcliff said.
Rose State takes part in reducing e-waste by auctioning or donating its old equipment. People interested in recycling electronics can start by having e-waste bins to toss broken phone chargers, batteries, remotes and other electronic waste. Taking old electronics to local retailers for recycling is another way consumers can safely dispose of electronic items. Sometimes, items may have a trade-in value and can result in extra cash. Appliances can be posted for free pick up or even donated to local appliance repair shops. Typically, they will be properly recycled or even used for parts to fix other appliances.
Recycling bins picked up by the city only take plastic, paper, cans and glass, not e-waste. According to the official website for the city of Oklahoma City, people should rinse cans, jars and bottles before placing in the bin. Boxes should be flattened and all items should be loose; placing items in bags can slow down the separation process.
For more information, visit okc.gov. For a full list of recyclable items and where to locally recycle them, including electronics, visit okc.gov/departments/utilities/recycling/beyond-the-bin.